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Ten Years to Zero: School strikers, extreme heat, and the Climate Emergency Movement growing exponentially as the crisis deepens.

A rundown of news from the Climate Emergency Movement across the globe, including school strikes, the exponential rise in Climate Emergency declarations, and Democratic presidential candidates speaking out for WWII scale mobilization in the U.S.


Global Climate Strike

  Youth leader Supriya Patel in Sacramento on September 20, 2019
Youth leader Supriya Patel in Sacramento on September 20, 2019

Last week, more than 6 million people participated in a global Climate Strike. Focused on two “Fridays for Future” — these mass uprisings locally organized in cities throughout the world were part of the largest climate action in history. For just a fraction of the photos and coverage of the strikes, you can read Vox, NY Magazine, and Esquire.

  Image: #fridaysforfuture
Image: #fridaysforfuture

The weeklong Climate Strike actions were the result of months of organizing by thousands of local groups, many led by young people of color and indigenous leaders like 13-year-old Supriya Patel, who led a 1,000-person rally in Sacramento, California. The school strike movement began with Greta Thunberg, who began sitting alone, outside Sweden’s parliament building every Friday back in August 2018. In 15 months, her solo strike has been joined by millions. Greta joined strikers in New York, where she delivered a passionate speech to world leaders at the U.N. Climate Action Summit condemning their inaction, refusing to absolve them of their responsibility in creating the crisis, and demanding action at emergency speed on behalf of her generation.

  San Francisco Street Mural. Image: occupysf.net
San Francisco Street Mural. Image: occupysf.net

Climate Emergency Declarations as a key demand 

More than 30 climate strike groups in U.S. cities from San Diego, California to Portland, Maine included local declarations of Climate Emergency among their key demands for the strike. 

Decarbonization at emergency speed: 1080 global declarations and counting!

As of October 1, 2019, more than 1,080 governments, representing 265 million people, have declared Climate Emergency. This is up from about 250 at the beginning of this year. 

This includes the national governments of the United Kingdom, Austria, Portugal, and Argentina, local governments of 6.6% of the U.S. population, and Old Crow — the northernmost community in Yukon, Canada.

An early analysis from the U.K. supports the idea that declarations of Climate Emergency have been successful in speeding decarbonization in the declaring municipalities. We plan to spread this campaign far and wide in the U.S., to put political pressure on the federal government, while simultaneously preparing local populations for WWII-scale Climate Mobilization. We see this theory of change working in the U.K. where the Labour Party voted to back a Green New Deal that would target net-zero emissions by 2030.

On the national front in the U.S., the Climate Emergency Declaration Resolution in Congress now has more than seventy co-sponsors, including Democratic presidential candidates Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren. Senator Sanders is the author of the resolution in the Senate. If your Members of Congress has not signed on, they need to hear from you. Visit ClimateEmergency.US to write to each of your Representatives in two minutes. 


California

The University of California and cities across the state are beginning to act on their climate declarations, taking small but important steps toward decarbonization. Just one day after it declared a Climate Emergency, the University of California committed to completely divesting its $70 billion pension fund and $13.4 billion endowment from fossil fuels. 

California has also seen a major tipping point toward electrification in new infrastructure in the last few weeks, as six cities in California have followed Berkeley’s example and have banned natural gas in newly constructed buildings, with 50 more cities reportedly considering a similar ban. We are pleased that Berkeley cited their Climate Emergency Declaration in the new law, and that this action aligns with our “Ban + Plan + Expand” post-declaration policy guidance.

Democratic Candidates Adopt Language of WWII Mobilization

We are proud that the language of our mission — to initiate a WWII-scale mobilization to reverse global warming and the mass extinction of species in order to protect humanity and the natural world from climate catastrophe — as well as the wider goal of the Climate Emergency movement to get to zero emissions by 2030, continue to be embraced by Democratic presidential candidates. 

Senator Sanders and Naomi Klein put out a video on social media last week calling for WWII-scale mobilization.

Both Marianne Williamson and Tom Steyer have put forward robust climate plans in line with Climate Emergency Movement demands. In her climate platform Williamson states, “What is necessary is a full scale climate emergency mobilization effort, not unlike the kind of effort undertaken by the United States during WWII. Without such an effort, the world will begin to see social collapse and mass starvation unprecedented during our lifetime.” 

Steyer’s website asserts, “Tom is the only candidate that will declare a national Climate Emergency on day one and use the powers of the presidency to address the crisis.” 

Elizabeth Warren has called for the U.S. to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2030, calling the climate crisis “The ultimate threat to every living thing on this earth.” 


What’s Next

The Rebellion is growing. The transnational, decentralized direct action group Extinction Rebellion (or XR) is planning a week of international rebellion — joyful direct action aimed at disrupting business-as-usual and drawing attention to the accelerating Climate Emergency and ecological crisis, from the U.K. to Australia to Sri Lanka. The International Rebellion builds on a major series of actions in London in April and more recent Climate Strike events, where XR affinity groups, along with activists from Rising Tide, 350.org, and other local organizations, shut down traffic in Boston, DC, Denver, and Los Angeles

The Climate Emergency movement is building power — through Climate Emergency Declarations, marches, and direct action. These actions don’t just put pressure on governments — they build real hope. Even those who just watch news coverage of climate marches are more likely to believe we can collectively address the Climate Emergency after seeing millions rise up to demand action. We’ve come so far in the past year, and it is essential that we all become involved, continuing to push for a just transition and an end to fossil fuel pollution. 

Famous on Youtube

Comedian, social media personality, and TV writer Demi Adejuyigbe caught our attention in September with this video, his now annual “Sept 21” tribute. Proceeds from T-shirt sales associated with this year’s video (over 1.4 million hits and counting) go to our 501(c)3 nonprofit partner, Climate Mobilization Project. Many thanks to Demi Adejuyigbe for helping us spread and strengthen our message!


Organizer trainings

This weekend, 25 Climate Emergency organizers from around the U.S. will gather in Chicago for the first ever Climate Emergency Campaign training led by trainers Korii Northrup and Chris Brown, along with our Organizing Director Rebecca Harris. They will learn skills for involving more people and organizations in responding to the Climate Emergency, and will leave able to facilitate a Climate Emergency Response Training for others in their communities.
On Tuesday October 1, 65 people gathered online to learn about starting new Climate Emergency groups in their communities. On the call, we announced the release of a new Climate Emergency Campaign Guide, which you can access as part of our Organizer Toolkit


Climate Mobilization in the New York Times

Professor Roy Scranton of Notre Dame wrote a New York Times opinion piece questioning the wisdom of using the historical reference of WWII to call for climate action. His critique ultimately comes around to endorse large-scale mobilization of the economy and society to generate the transition we need to save ourselves from runaway climate change. We have submitted our response to the NYT editors and await publication.


Ban + Plan + Expand

Our research team recently published a policy framework to guide local governments that have declared a Climate Emergency through next steps toward full mobilization. Executive Director Margaret Klein Salamon and Research Director Laura Berry co-authored an article in Truthout explaining this policy framework: 

“Climate Emergency declarations are the first step toward shifting society into Emergency Mode, where we take all necessary action to address the crisis situation we face. Local governments can take immediate action to mobilize people and resources toward addressing the Climate Emergency in their backyards through a three-pronged approach that can be characterized as “Ban, Plan, and Expand.”

Ban: Phase out fossil fuel infrastructure, stop burning fossil fuels and divest from climate-damaging industries

Plan: Democratize the Climate Emergency response, establish a Climate Emergency Mobilization body and create a Climate Mobilization action plan.

Expand: Governments that have declared climate emergency can multiply their impact by reaching: 

Downwards — on the local level to municipal projects, which multiplied by the thousands will make a tremendous impact.
Upwards — advocating for state and national climate emergency commitments, programs and legislation.
Outwards — to governments across the globe. 

For more detail on this plan visit the Ban + Plan + Expand webpage

Thank you for your commitment to this work and for helping to make it possible. We are powered by the donations of individuals who want to make a Climate Mobilization real. Please consider joining with us by making a recurring contribution.

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Kristen Cashmore

Senior Director
Kristen brings more than 25 years of social justice advocacy to Climate Mobilization. Her previous positions at human rights, public health, environmental justice, and clean energy organizations inform her work with the variety of stakeholders she is engaging with to bring an accelerated response to the climate emergency. Kristen earned a BA in Peace and Conflict Studies from UC Berkeley, where she was a teaching assistant in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy, and Management.

Malik Russell

Communications Director

Malik leads Climate Mobilization’s press and communications strategy. He formerly served as Communications Director for the NAACP. He is a journalist, author, community-based educator, and former lecturer in the Department of Strategic Communications at Morgan State University. The former editor of the Washington Afro-American newspaper, he has worked as a journalist in the Black Press for over two decades.He has a BA in American history from Brandeis University and earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College in New York, where he was selected as a National Urban Fellow.

Ezra Silk

Deputy Director

Ezra is co-founder of The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. He authored The Climate Mobilization’s Victory Plan, an influential exploration of how the federal government can organize and implement a mobilization to save civilization from the Climate Emergency and ecological crisis. This document directly shaped the demands of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the Green New Deal framework. Ezra was also a lead author of the climate emergency declaration resolution introduced in Congress in July 2019. A former newspaper reporter, Ezra has a BA in history from Wesleyan University.

Matt Renner

Executive Director of The Climate Mobilization and Managing Director of Climate Mobilization Project

Matt has worked as a nonprofit executive in clean energy, climate policy, and journalism for over a decade, focusing on the near-term social and economic impacts of climate change. He leads organizational expansion and works closely with the communications and organizing teams. Matt earned a BA in political science from UC Berkeley, where he was deeply inspired by the work of Professor George Lakoff.

Laura Berry

Research & Policy Director

Laura brings over a decade of experience to Climate Mobilization in climate advocacy, organizing, research, and policy. She has worked on climate, environmental, and sustainability issues from local to global scales with organizations including the Stockholm Environment Institute, the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, and 350.org. She is passionate about deepening democratic engagement in response to the Climate Emergency. Laura has a BA in human ecology from College of the Atlantic and an MSc in global environment, politics, and society from the University of Edinburgh.

Rebecca Harris

Organizing Director

Rebecca leads Climate Mobilization organizing efforts. Along with a history of social movement organizing, Rebecca he has worked as a journalist covering equity in Chicago public schools. Most recently, Rebecca worked as Development and Communications Manager at Latino Union of Chicago, an immigrants’ and workers’ rights organization. She is a 2017 graduate of the Reframe Mentorship in strategic communications and a 2019 participant in the Anne Braden Organizer Training Program.

Marina Mails

Operations and Community Manager
Marina manages operations and volunteers for both The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. She brings broad experience working in non-profit organizations, health care settings, and running her own private counseling practice. Before joining Climate Mobilization, Marina maintained a practice focusing exclusively on climate-related emotional coping, helping people make bold choices for lifestyle and professional change in response to the Climate Emergency. She has a bachelor’s degree in political science and Spanish from Wake Forest University and a Masters in Counseling from UNC Greensboro.

Sydney Ghazarian

Digital Organizer
Sydney leads digital strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization project. She is also a founder of National Democratic Socialists of America Ecosocialist Working Group and worked to establish climate as a primary focus of the American Left. Sydney has previously worked in journalism and in academic research. Sydney received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California San Diego.

Cris Lagunas

Strategy Director

Cris is helping to grow the Climate Emergency Movement by supporting creative campaigns and extending the reach of the movement’s message. Cris is a co-founder of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance, an organization dedicated to using direct action tactics to expose, challenge and dismantle the immigration detention system.Cris got his start in organizing when he was 15 years old, getting involved in a local group of fellow undocumented youth.

Margaret Klein Salamon, PHD

Founder and Executive Director of Climate Mobilization Project

Margaret leads organizational strategy for The Climate Mobilization and Climate Mobilization Project. In this role she has helped catalyze a burgeoning worldwide Climate Emergency Movement. Margaret earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Adelphi University and a BA in social anthropology from Harvard. Though she loved being a therapist, Margaret felt called to apply her psychological and anthropological knowledge to solving climate change. She is author of Facing the Climate Emergency: How to Transform yourself with Climate Truth available from New Society Publishers in April, 2020.

AriDy Nox

Organizational Development and Engagement Manager
AriDy brings creativity, enthusiasm and a tremendous capacity for organization to her/their role, assisting the executive director with travel, communication and fundraising. AriDy Nox is a multi-disciplinary black femme storyteller and social activist. They have served as a national representative for The Young Women of Color Leadership Council, the Millennials of Color Leadership Bureau, and held writing positions with Advocates for Youth and RH Reality Check. She has worked as an administrative and executive assistant for a myriad of organizations including the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Performing Arts at NYU, the Youth Engagement Fund and the Community Resource Exchange.